Getting onto a strong creative roll, ‘War’, the new single from Jay Moussa-Mann picks up where her recent singles ended. Full of indie-pop structure, War is Jay’s third single since BBC Introducing favourite ‘American Tennessee’. Damian Robinson caught up with Jay to find out more.
War does a great job of blending sugary pop sounds with a camouflaged narrative about conflict and intent. Could you tell us a little about the tune?
During November I decided to do a 30-day song writing challenge on TikTok. War came on one of the last days when I imagined I was a character who was really mean. I wondered if they were actually insecure, not knowing who they are. I made up the first few words and chorus on that video and spent the next month developing it.
There’s a really nice, ‘pop’ production to the single, What did you use to create and produce the sound?
I was lucky to get some production lessons from Patrick Jordan last year over Zoom. He’s produced my last two singles and he’s an amazing teacher. I tried really hard to use everything I’d learned so far from him about pop production in ‘War.’ The song begins with acoustic guitar at the start but then that gradually fades away and moves into more synth based sounds. I found this one synth that sounds to me like a battle horn, something they might use before a Lord of the Rings battle. It’s very subtle here and there but it just gives that sense of war. The vocals are really layered, I spent a long time trying to get the performance right. Patrick edited, mixed and mastered it,
The video for War is also very interesting and very abstract- could you explain a little about the concept?
I wanted to try something a bit different for me. ‘War’ is not something I would usually write. As a performer and personally some people often seem to have this idea that I’m ‘quiet’ and ‘shy’ and ‘sweet’. I hate that because it’s not true. Its learned behaviour, underneath I’m often hurt and angry and I lash out. That said I’m quite self conscious about how I am perceived and often played into the sweetness. So with this I wanted to make the video for War a raw stripped back me; not looking ‘nice’, moving in a non-pretty, animalistic way. The idea came from a scene in the movie Mean Girls where Cady has a vision of her high school classmates as animals at a watering hole, fighting over jealousies and power struggles. I’ve always thought that insight is very powerful. I’m not a dancer by any stretch of the imagination but I just did what felt right to me.
Aside from the single release, do you have any further release/touring plans for the rest of 2022?
I do have more releases planned and my album is due this summer, it’s already been pushed back a bit. I definitely have some plans for live performances, but I’m not sure when that will be exactly although I’d love it to be over the summer hopefully coinciding with the album release.